Stoops to coach 100th game at Oklahoma

November 1st, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Stoops to coach 100th game at Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. - Oklahoma was suffering through three consecutive losing seasons when it turned to a man with no head coaching experience. And what a move it proved to be.
Bob Stoops won his first game and dozens more to follow. On Saturday, he'll coach his 100th game - and seeking his 82nd win in eight seasons - with the Sooners when No. 18 Oklahoma visits No. 21 Texas A&M.
"Put it up against anyone that's coached, it'd be highly impressive. I don't think you could make a case for anything but," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said. "It's a remarkable start to a wonderful career as head coach."
However, of the four men who coached at least 100 games at Oklahoma, Stoops' impressive start ranks only third. Bud Wilkinson went 89-8-3 and had three championships in his first 100 games with the Sooners, and Barry Switzer was 86-11-3 with two national titles.
"He wouldn't have come to the University of Oklahoma if we didn't create an environment where pursuing championships was possible, and I'm not sure I would have either," Castiglione said. "I think that makes Oklahoma special. We have to continue to shoot for the top. That's just how we're put together."
When Stoops arrived in Norman in 1999, it was in different circumstances than Wilkinson and Switzer, whose photos hang side-by-side with one of Stoops in the Sooners' stadium club. Stoops took over Oklahoma after its worst three-year stretch in history while the others both inherited winners.
Stoops took Oklahoma back to a bowl game in his first season and then won a national title his second season - just as Switzer did. He has followed that with five more bowl games, including two more national title games, and the Sooners (6-2, 3-1 Big 12) are eligible for the postseason again this year.
Because of that great start, winning is once again expected at Oklahoma.
"The standard is so high that sometimes you've got to be almost perfect to reach the standard that everyone wants," offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. "But you're pushing to get there. The bottom line is you're pushing each week to be better and to get the next win."
Stoops had more victories in his first five seasons than all but three other coaches in history and currently ranks fourth in winning percentage among active coaches, hundredths of a point behind Florida's Urban Meyer and Miami's Larry Coker.
"Obviously he's been an incredible leader for our program and has handled the responsibility that goes with being the head coach at a place like Oklahoma with tremendous class and dignity," Castiglione said. "He's obviously a very passionate person, very skilled and his character is impeccable. He'd be the prototype of the coach every university would want to have."
But Stoops' run at Oklahoma hasn't been all roses. After losing 10 players to the NFL last year, Stoops' five-game winning streak against rival Texas ended and the Sooners struggled to a 2-3 start - their worst in his tenure. A five-year run of January bowl games also ended.
In the offseason, the university discovered that starting quarterback Rhett Bomar had broken NCAA rules by taking extra pay from a Norman car dealership. The NCAA is investigating the situation.
Regardless, the Sooners are charging forward. They bounced back from another Texas loss this season with three straight wins, and Castiglione sees no reason that Oklahoma shouldn't hope for similar success in Stoops' second 100 games as in his first.
"Our goals are always going to be the same," Castiglione said. "We just have to adjust and do the best we can with the situation we face, and he's done that in every way. I think the last few years people have seen how talented this person really is."
He's talented enough that there's always a little fear among the Sooner Nation that the NFL will come soon and take him away.
"I do know that he is happy and he is very, very focused on how this program can get better and better and better," Castiglione said. "Likewise, we're trying to match if not exceed his passion to continue our improvement. We can make this the best possible college coaching job, and we've done all we can do to make it great for any head coach."
Castiglione said he hopes Stoops stays at Oklahoma "for many more years to come," and doesn't see him going anywhere soon.
"I see the way he works every day. I think he's really focused," Castiglione said. "With Bob Stoops, you don't get anything less than 100 percent."

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